Indian River School District will hold a second referendum, after the first one was defeated

SELBYVILLE, Del. – The Indian River School District will once again try to get a referendum passed to dramatically reshape the future.

On Monday, the Board of Education voted to move forward and Superintendent Mark Steele made it clear that the timing of the vote was crucial. Steele says if you don’t pass the referendum for capital school improvements before June 30th, their CN could run out. “A CN is a certificate of necessity, that’s the plan we give to the State, they review all of the projections, review the plan and say yes or no. We happen to have our whole CN funded which was the construction of the new high school for 2,200 students, the 8 room additions at Indian River and four room additions at Selbyville.”

We’re told if you don’t pass it after two opportunities by referendum, you need to resubmit it in the future and there’s good chance that other school districts will get the opportunity before they do again.

Steele says for this upcoming referendum, residents will see just one question, instead of two. Indian River School District will drop the 9 cent current expense from the first referendum but keep the major capital improvement projects. “Those projects are funded 60% by the state, 40% local money. The first year is a 2 cent increase, second increase at 10, 3rd year is 18 cents. During the fourth year, it would hit $68 and by year five, it would decrease to $50.”

We’re told after year four, those numbers will continue to drop year by year eventually hitting zero. Steele tells 47 ABC, this acts like a mortgage, as they’ll pay it off over 20 years. But we’re told this is a need because Sussex County’s population is exploding.

Sussex Central is just one of the many schools that is overcrowded and they’re working to make space in a school that holds 1,500 students but currently has over 1,700.

Sussex Central Principal, Bradley Layfield says, “Some of our students that they couldn’t walk anywhere they shuffled from one place to the next and go behind someone going in the same direction.” Some students even coined this term, as the ‘Sussex shuffle’.

That’s why the improvement project would include a new Sussex Central High School, which would hold 2,200 students helping the north end.

“When we can take several 100 students to Georgetown Middle School area creating an elementary school space for our Georgetown complex and north Georgetown and turn current Millsboro Middle School into elementary school,” Layfield says.

In the south end, they will have 8 classrooms for Indian River High and 4 additional classrooms for Selbyville Middle.

They hope to have the second referendum in early May, but we don’t have any specific dates as of yet.

If the referendum passes, they would need four years to construct the high school. But if it doesn’t, Steele says they will look at program changes and see how they will increase use in their buildings.

Categories: Delaware, Education, Local News, Money